Alas, the charm and excitement of Valentine’s day is over, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still express your love to those close to you. Here are a few recipes that are sure to capture the love you’d like to convey.
Beet and Goat’s Cheese Salad with Lavender Honey Dressing
The best thing about salads is that anyone can make one. It doesn’t take any particular culinary talent. You can simply toss ingredients in a bowl, add dressing and voila. I have refrained from including portions for the salad ingredients so that you may use your creative freedom to make the salad to your liking and also so that you can make it according to the number of people you will be serving. The dressing however is about enough to serve four to six people. Feel free to double it if necessary.
Lavender Honey Dressing
1 tsp culinary grade Lavender
1 ½ tsp clover (or other mild flavor) honey
¼ tsp finishing salt (I like Maldon or Murray River brands)
1 Tbsp Marsala
2 Tbsp Champagne Vinegar
6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pecans (you can also substitute pine nuts or walnuts)
A note on goat’s cheese:
*You can crumble the goat’s cheese using a fork or use a teaspoon to scoop out small portions. Roll each teaspoon of goat’s cheese between your hands to create a small round.
For the beets:
**If using fresh beets, follow the directions below to roast. For a fun presentation, slice the cooked beets into ¼ inch rounds then use a 1 ½” or 2” heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut the beet slices into shapes.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Wash beets thoroughly then cut the greens from the bulbs (save the greens! They are incredibly delicious when sautéed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.) Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 min or until tender (a knife should easily pierce through the vegetable.)
Mandarin/Ginger Glazed Salmon with Asparagus & Fennel
2 Wild Alaskan Salmon Filets
¼ cup freshly squeezed mandarin juice
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp marsala
1 tsp mandarin zest
½ tsp grated fresh ginger
2 slices fresh mandarin (for garnish)
1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 bulb fennel
½ cup frozen peas
Preheat the oven to 425°
Combine ingredients for glaze. Place the two salmon filets flesh side down (skin side up) into an 8×8” Pyrex baking dish and pour the marinade on top. Allow the salmon to marinade for 20min while you finish the other components of the dish. (Set your kitchen timer for 10 min and flip fish over, making sure the whole filet gets to marinade.)
While the fish is marinating, place a a steam basket in a large pot and fill with water (water should not come up above the steam basket.) Place it on the stove over high heat. Meanwhile, wash and prepare the vegetables: For the asparagus spears, simply snap the tough ends off. For the fennel, cut the stalks off the top and discard. Then, cut the solid core out of the bottom of the bulb in a V-shape. Chop the bulb in half and cut each half into small diagonal slices.
When the water has come to a boil, add vegetables and cook until crisp-tender. This may happen faster than you anticipate, so make sure to keep checking it. Note: it is important to allow enough room in the pan for the steam to circulate around the vegetables properly.***
When the fish is done marinating, (20min) heat an oven-proof saucepan on the stove top over medium-high heat. When the pan is good and hot, place the salmon in the skillet skin side down (it should make a loud sizzling noise.) Cook for about two minutes on each side then put the entire skillet, uncovered into the oven. Cook though, about 5 min. Fish should be flaky but not dry.
While the salmon is in the oven, pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat. When the mixture has reduced to about half its original volume, take off of heat and put 2 Tbsp cold butter into the pan. Hold in the air and using your wrist, shuffle the pan in a circular motion until the butter melts completely (the action will be similar to throwing a Frisbee.)
Spoon the cooked marinade onto two plates in a pattern for beautiful presentation, or simply put a dollop in the middle of the plate. Arrange the vegetables then top with the asparagus. Garnish with the orange slices.
***Note on steaming: Although water is traditionally used in this method, you can also try using broth, stock or any other flavorful liquid to enhance the taste of the vegetables.